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Full text of "Alexander von Humboldt"

132                               LIFE   OF
opinion that the southern animals had wandered
too far north into higher latitudes in hot summers—
especially In former ages, when, by the greater
volcanic activity of the then hotter earth, those north-
ern regions, also, must have had a higher tempera-
ture—that they had been suddenly overtaken by the
winter, and had been buried in ico which haw not
melted since that time; and that inundations of rivei'S,
flowing northward, on whose shores numerous remains
of southern animals may yet be found, may hayo
washed them towards the north.
Humboldt also acknowledged the direction of the
winds and tides, as one modifying cause of the cli-
mate prevailing over certain large portions of land, and
these again stand in intimate relation to the form of
the continent, and often divert the isotltermic lines
considerably from their regular course. This ex-
plained, clearly, how two countries or districts lying
under the same degree of latitude, but at a great dis-
tance from each other, could have two entirely cUftb-
rent climates.* Humboldt showed how the revolu-
tion of the earth on its axis must caxise the great
current of the waters of the ocean to flow from east
to west, and that this current must be the strongest
at the greatest peripherium of the earth, beneath
the equator; that another current from the poles
towards the greatest peripherium, must necessarily
co-exist, which must flow from the north pole, first
towards the south, and then westward, following the
chief current.
The cold waters coming from the polar circles there-
fore, wash the eastern shores of the countries of the
earth, while the heated waters, flowing back from the
equator, beat against the western coasts. The pre-
vailing winds blow analogously with these ocean tides;
and hence the coldness of the eastern, and the
warmth of the western coasts, are self-evident. We
"*   * These theories of Humboldt HaTe been worked out by Solicitw
and Dowe, wlio have founded many important facts on this banla.